3 arrested for trying to smuggle contraband into Bennettsville p - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

3 arrested for trying to smuggle contraband into Bennettsville prison, officials say

Leonard Cooper. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office Leonard Cooper. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office
Nia Mitchell. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office Nia Mitchell. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office
Toni Sawyer. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office Toni Sawyer. Source: Marlboro County Sheriff's Office

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – Three people were arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle contraband into the federal prison in Bennettsville Tuesday, according to a news release from the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office.

Toni Sawyer, 26, Nia Mitchell, 19, and Leonard Cooper, 23, all from Savannah, were arrested and charged with trespassing and possession with intent to distribute marijuana after an incident at the Federal Correctional Institution in Bennettsville, the release states.

Investigators with the MCSO have been working the last few weeks with prison investigators on cases related to smuggling contraband into the prison, and through several investigative techniques, they determined that an attempt to smuggle would be made on Tuesday.

Cooper was taken into custody near the prison with several forms of contraband, and a short time later, Mitchell and Sawyer were arrested at the Huddle House in Bennettsville for their roles in the attempt. The release states that Mitchell and Sawyer dropped Cooper off at the prison, and were waiting to pick him up after he completed the drop off.

 “This is a prime example of how cooperation, team work and information sharing can produce results,” said Sheriff Fred Knight. “The Federal Prison attracts family and friends from all over the country to Marlboro County to visit inmates and we have the responsibility of assisting them in maintaining their safety and that of the community in Marlboro County."

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI will be reviewing the case with FCI investigators for federal charges related to the case.

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